A horde of updates

I have a few updates to report. They’re of various types, so just go where your interests lie. I’ll attend to the short ones first.


Since making my freelance editing/proofreading website ‘responsive’, i.e., readable on any device, I’ve made additions to the text itself: an editing testimonial here, a writing link there.


Strong Language, a blog about swearing that James Harbeck and I launched in 2014, is on a list of top language learning blogs. I knew it could be educational. Vote for it there if you like what we do.

You can also vote for Sentence First (or a blog of your choice) on this list of top language professional blogs, and for Stan Carey (that’s me) or whoever else you like as a top language Twitterer.


I regularly update old posts here, for example if I read something later that sheds light on the topic, or if I see new examples of what I was writing about. The following were all published from 2010–2015:

I’m on [verb]’ (Jan. 2014) outlines a dialectal spin-off from I’m gonna [verb]. I updated it with a link and another variant from an Elmore Leonard novel: ‘I’m own ask you to bite this…’

The mamas & the papas in babies’ babbling’ (Jan. 2012) is about where infants’ mama/papa words really come from. I updated it with passages from a linguistics paper and a linguistics book.

Even stealthier that I thought’ (May 2010) looks at the sneaky that for than typo. I updated it with more than two dozen examples from edited texts, including three from one book.

Who’s confused by whose confusion?’ (Dec. 2012) is in a similar vein but on a smaller scale. In some cases the error may result from misspelling or grammatical confusion rather than a typographical slip.

The unsung value of singular “themself”’ (Jan. 2014) has a self-explanatory title. To this post – itself a follow-up on my initial discussion of the relative pronoun themself – I added examples from prominent locations, including a themselfs from Sheila Heti.

Would of, could of, might of, must of’ (Oct. 2012) shows the surprising prevalence in literature of this non-standard usage. I updated it with dozens more examples, including from Agatha Christie, Dylan Thomas, and Sylvia Plath.

“Snuck” sneaked in’ (June 2010) traces the rise of snuck and the range of attitudes towards this unusual upstart. In an update I added an extract from Steven Pinker’s book Words and Rules.

Its, it’s: It’s a problem’ (Oct. 2010) discusses another common typo or misspelling and assembles notable examples in print. I updated it with more examples. Many more.

Australian clippings in Peter Temple’s Truth’ (Feb. 2015). I added a few more abbreviations from another novel by Temple (e.g., ute, smoko). Two more of his books are on my shelf, so I’ll be updating again unless they warrant their own posts.

Fixer-upper(er) and funnerer reduplication’ (June 2015) has been updated with further relevant neologisms, such as sentimentimentality from Flann O’Brien and ladder-faller-offer from Donal Ryan.

The place for toilet euphemisms’ (Aug. 2015) does what it says. I updated it with choice comments from people on Twitter and a timeline of related slang terms by Jonathon Green.

The writer automaton by Pierre Jaquet-Droz’ (Sept. 2013) is a short post about a mechanical marvel of the 18th century. I updated with a link to a fine essay on the history of automata.

Oh, the splices you’ll see!’ (Apr. 2010) is a defence of the unfairly maligned comma splice, with many examples from literature. I added more, but have since begun collecting these offline: the file now totals 12k words. I haven’t decided what to do with them.

Some other posts have been updated, but that’s more than enough for one day.


8 Responses to A horde of updates

  1. Claude says:

    Still young enough to vote! And old enough to know for whom!
    All the best, Stan!

  2. astraya says:

    Oooo … more procrastination!

  3. curious, does Strong Language take questions/research requests from readers? i looked around the other day but couldn’t find a contact page. thanks (especially for your post on mondegreens – i still share the term with friends).

  4. astraya says:

    When I clicked on the link to the top language learning blogs, I got a warning (all in Korean, apart from ‘warning’ and the logo, from the National Communications Security Commission (that is, the internet police). Apparently, there’s something naughty about language learner. I was able to close the warning and continue to the site. I hope I’m not on a watch list now.

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